Gene Rauhala Response

Your Personal Connection

We've all had defining moments in our lives. What personal experience with arts, culture, or creativity had an impact on your life and your view of the community?  

 I am a union musician and music has helped shaped my life from the fifth grade, when I started playing the trumpet.   I have performed with the Townsend Military Band, which has been a continuously performing organization since its inception in 1837.  Additionally, I perform with the Ashby Band, Fitchburg Military Band and the Leominster Colonial Band for their summer band concert seasons.  These bands also perform in Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades and for other civic events throughout the year.  These bands are woven into the fabric of the community and their rosters are a long history of musicians who have carried on the musical experience for each other’s enjoyment and for the enjoyment audiences in their communities.


Arts and Culture in Your District

Art and culture plays a role in the Commonwealth from Boston and the Gateway Cities and our rural and suburban towns.  Please provide us with a story of the impact a local arts or cultural institution brings to your district. 

Music, art and culture is alive and well throughout the district.  In addition to the summer band concerts, the communities in the First Middlesex District support art and music in their public schools by promoting art and performing arts programs in their schools.  A wide variety of Broadway show, choral and instrumental performances and art shows are offered by schools throughout the district.  Throughout the year, there are a number of indoor and outdoor performances by dancers, musical ensembles, theater groups, gymnasts, and the like, in community sponsored events in auditoriums, churches, schools, outdoor venues, and on commons throughout the district. 


Arts Education and Programs for our Youth

Creativity and innovation are vital skills in a student’s education. While many communities have access to quality arts education, many youth are still being left out of the creative community. How will you champion arts education for our youth both in our schools and in our communities? How will you balance the importance of arts education with the constant pull to “teach to the test”? Would you support joining ten other states to make one year of arts education in high school a requirement for admission to the state university system? Do you support adding ‘arts’ into the Commonwealth’s STEM program to transform it to STEAM? 

 I champion school districts adopting schedules that allow music and art education during the school day, and I would support adding arts to STEM to transform it to STEAM. With regard to youth participation in the creative community, the opportunity to perform and to exhibit one’s talents in the community is the ideal way to expand the creative community.  If one needs to test artists, vocalists and musicians as part of their teaching, the artists, vocalists and musicians could perform in a series of community events in which each performs and has a role in producing the show.  As a union musician, I have performed in many high school productions of Broadway shows that have showcased singers, dancers, artists, costume designers, and taught sound, lighting skills, and other stage production skills.


Economic Development

Nonprofit art and cultural organizations support more than 45,000 jobs, spend $2.1 billion annually and generate another $2.5 billion of economic activity. How will the legislature foster an ecosystem, which supports the creative community and industry across the Commonwealth?   

The Legislature should study the funding needs of towns and cities across the Commonwealth for the cultural events and programs budgets, including school district budgets.  The Legislature should include a review of publicly financed auditoriums, stadiums, grounds and other venues that service communities and regions.  The Legislature can foster an ecosystem for the creative community and industry by creating the infrastructure for performance and display of the collective talents of the creative community. 


Addressing the Commonwealth’s Socioeconomic Issues

Massachusetts faces many economic and social issues, among them workforce development, public safety, and health care. Can you provide examples on how you would utilize the arts, cultural, and creative community to address the Commonwealth’s social and economic challenges?  

I believe that there is a role for the arts, cultural and creative communities in the pre-school and after-school care of our students.  I support the notion of arts and music enhancing the social life and opportunities for students throughout each level of education from pre-k through higher education.  I believe that education centers that offer pre-school care, breakfast, music lessons, tutors, arts and crafts, after school programs, community based activities, such as scouting, to our students could provide workforce development and access to health care, while offering a measure of public safety to the community.    


The Commonwealth’s Support and Role in the Creative Community

  • Last year, Massachusetts invested $12 million in organizational support through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) for the creative community, ranking it ninth in the country. In 1988, the MCC gave out more than $27 million in grants, more than twice what we do now. At what level would you fund the MCC?  

I would restore funding to the 1988 level, adjusted to 2014 values, as a starting point.

  • For the past two years, Governor Patrick allocated $15 million in matching grants through the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund to support the maintenance, repair, and rebuilding of the Commonwealth’s cultural facilities. At what level do you suggest the Commonwealth fund this program? 

 I would look at the total figure necessary to create an infrastructure that supports the creative community on a Commonwealth-wide basis.  I would increase the $15 million in matching grants, based upon my personal knowledge of the Commonwealth’s cultural facility, by a minimum of 10%, and support increases to accelerate the rebuilding process.

  • Would you develop or dedicate a revenue stream to provide a sustainable and stable funding stream for the arts, cultural, and creative community?


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